January 29, 2023

The eight Baguio athletes who were initially denied of their 2019 Southeast Asian Games cash incentives for winning medals finally received their incentives following a review of their documents by the city government.

Earlier, the City Administrator’s Office has approved the release of incentives for the 2019 SEAG medalists worth P850,000, but not for eight other athletes due to questions on their residency.

After a thorough review, SEAG medalists Eza Rai Yalong and Crisamuel Delfin for arnis, Jerry Olsim and Jean Claude Saclag for kickboxing, Jenelyn Olsim and Lee Ariel Lampacan for Muay Thai, Marianne Mariano for sambo, and Estie Gay Liwanen for kurash finally received their incentives.

“I grew up in Irisan, Baguio City and went to the Quirino Elementary School where I learned arnis and has since then represented the city in various competitions such as the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association meet and Palarong Pambansa,” said Yalong who brought home the bronze medal for the full contact category.

City Sports Coordinator Gaudencio Gonzales also vouched for Yalong stating the 21-year-old University of Baguio student has been receiving her incentives from the city since she was a young athlete.

In 2016, Yalong moved with her family to Barangay Ambiong, La Trinidad but continued to go to UB where she finished her high school and senior high school.

The Olsim siblings are natives of Bokod, Benguet but have long been residing at San Carlos Heights, Irisan.

Liwanen and Marianne Mariano are also Baguio residents but are currently in Manila where they serve as enlisted military personnel.

Having represented Baguio in many tournaments, Delfin opted to go home to Rizal where he recently finished his college degree at the Jose Rizal University.

Meanwhile, SEAG kickboxing silver medalist Jomar Balangui was left out among his colleagues.

Balangui, who went to Baguio City National High School, traces her roots to Balbalan, Kalinga and has submitted documents to prove she is a city resident.

Also seeking inclusion are boxers Nesthy Petecio, Irish Magno, Josie Gabuco, Carlo Paalam, and Aira Villegas.

Petecio is from Davao but has been residing in Baguio for almost 10 years now where she is enrolled at UB as one of its top athletes.

The City Sports Office said the boxers might not be considered for the incentives since they are trainees and students in Baguio, not residents of the city. – Ofelia C. Empian